How to write a baroque fugue form

A fugue begins with an exposition.

How to write a baroque fugue form

Learning to Write Fugues For many years, until the start of the Classical era inthe fugue was considered by many to be the ultimate musical art form. With its intricate counterpoint and tightly woven motifs, it represented the epitomy of musical thought in the Baroque era. Even after its use fell into disfavor, it still popped up occasionally in the works of Mozart, Beethoven, and even later composers.

In spite of all this, I had no idea what a fugue was until I read a description in my dog-eared book of Music Appreciation. This description was illustrated with examples from J.

The concept sounded intriguing, so I went out and bought an orchestrated recording of the piece. I was immediately hooked. After experiencing both this fugue, and those incorporated in Handel's Messiah, I decided that I wanted to write fugues, too.

Below, I will describe the stages I went through as I tried to master this ancient art form. The "Parallel" Phase In the beginning, I did not have a strong handle on all the niceties of fugue construction.

I had read that the first part, or "voice", enters with the musical idea, or "subject", and is soon joined by the "answer", where the subject is repeated in another voice, in a new key, while the first voice continues to play against it.

So far, so good. However, I did not realize that, once the second voice appeared in the new key, the first voice was allowed to play in the new key as well. Therefore, in my first few attempts to write a fugue, I was operating under the false assumption that the first voice had to play in the original key while the second played in the new key.

Needless to say, I was soon quite frustrated in my attempts to write in two different, simultaneous keys that, in spite of my total and utter lack of skill, harmonized with each other. I had a hard enough time harmonizing in one key! Before long, fortunately, I figured out that Baroque composers did not work under this restriction.

Unfortunately, I did not know that there were a number of other restrictions that they took very seriously. Most important of these was the avoidance of parallelism in the fifth and octave; in other words, keeping two voices a fifth or an octave apart from moving by the same interval and in the same direction.

I wasn't aware that this was a no-no, and so featured it prominently in my first fugue attempt, the A Minor Fugue. It wasn't until I sat in on a music theory class that I learned, to my dismay, that this type of writing would be far more difficult than I had anticipated.

The "Subject Only" Phase Next, I went through a stage where I got very good at writing subjects, but never got around to anything else.

Toccata | music |

By this time I was writing sketches for my Missa Grandis, and planned on filling it chock full o' fugues. My composition strategy for these fugues went something like this: First, I would have the sopranos enter with the fugue subject in the home key.

Then, the altos would come in with the subject in the new key. The sopranos would drop out at this point; I had every intention of returning to it some day and filling in their part.

Meanwhile, the tenors would enter in the home key, while the altos would drop out for the same reason the sopranos did earlier. Finally, the basses entered the picture, with the other three voices falling silent. At no time would more than one voice be singing.

When the bass part was finished, I would more often than not set the whole thing aside and move on to something else. One of my more ambitious subjects was this one from the Credo: I have pages and pages of this type of "subject only" fugue written down, and the truth is, I will probably never go back and finish them.

However, this was by no means a waste of time. The subject is the foundation of a fugue; it takes a special sort of melody to make a subject, and a special knack to write such a melody.The form of a fugue has the advantage of being somewhat strict, especially in its exposition.

how to write a baroque fugue form

Thus, one can emulate fugue composition by following a few basic procedures, and then using the fugues of Bach as supreme (if somewhat intimidating!) examples.

Ritornello Form: ("Return") A Baroque formal design based on the dramatic alternation of two opposing Fugue: A complex contrapuntal manipulation of a musical "subject This Italian was the first Western composer to write only instrumental music.

He is known for his trio sonatas and concertos written for the violin family. Trio. The following model is a three-voice fugue implementing some of the most significant techniques associated with this form. The student should endeavor to work with this model step-by-step in the creation of an original project.

Baroque. Toccata and Fugue in D Minor, BWV Bach's toccatas are among the most famous examples of the form, and his Toccata and Fugue in D minor, (although Galuppi did not actually write any piece with the name 'Toccata').

References. A fugue is a complex style of composition that was developed during the Baroque period. In this lesson, learn how fugues are made, what characteristic qualities make up the style, and how J.S.

Oct 21,  · The fugue, a polyphonic composition based on a subject (main theme), was most popular in the Baroque Period () This is a simplified .

Toccata - Wikipedia